Wow! What a winter it has been so far with record breaking low temperatures, ice and, of course, the memorable Blizzard of 2018. The plows and road crews have done a great job of making roads not just passable but safe as well. Homeowners have gotten in the spirit too with shoveling driveways, walkways, digging out hydrants, and salting potentially slippery high foot traffic areas. While this is admirable, especially given the severity of the winter thus far, this salting and the use of chemical deicers could harm your lawn and plantings. Let’s take a closer look at salt damage and what you can do to prevent it on your property.
While sprinkling salt products along your hardscape areas such as your driveway and walkway may seem like the right solution for the weather that Mother Nature throws at us, it may be doing some serious harm to the grass and plantings along the way. When the snow and ice melt periodically over the course of the winter, the rock salt mixture washes into the soil and can quickly build up to a toxic level. The melted mixture leaves plants with ample moisture in the ground, unfortunately the plants are unable to absorb any of this because of all the salt. This causes wilting and drought-like damage, including the appearance of scorched leaf edges, yellow or brown needles on evergreens, stunted growth, and twig dieback. Salt buildup in the soil also has a negative effect on the soil structure because it causes compaction.
To prevent salt damage to your organic areas, try the following tricks to keep salt from damaging your lawn and garden.
- Choose the least corrosive deicers you can find. Talk to your lawn care professional about what might be right for your lawn since all salts are not created equal.
- Consider using kitty litter or sawdust in areas where deicing is not needed but you are still looking for a little traction.
- As soon as there is a milder day (not any time soon) try washing down areas that you can access to limit the salt collection.
- If the snow clears enough sweep up extra or residual salt and place in the garbage instead of letting it sink into your lawn.
- Avoid piling snow around plantings and along the edges of the driveway. Spread it out as much as is feasible given the weight and type of each storm.
Have questions about the type and amount of salt you are using this winter? Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website.
Many homeowners have the mistaken belief that just because it is winter and the grass is covered with snow, that there really is nothing they can do to help their lawn. Sure, this is not the time to be thinking about aeration, fertilizing, or mowing, but there are still things that can be done to avoid both salt and snow damage that may impact your lawn in the coming spring. Let’s take a closer look at how you can avoid salt and snow damage this winter and thus protect your landscaping so that it is ready to grow come spring.
- Heavy Items – Do not leave heavy items such as lawn decorations, cars, or even a snowblower on your lawn for any extended period of time. It is sure to kill anything living under it as well as compact the soil.
- De-Icing Products – Avoid sodium chloride in your de-icing products. Rock salts have many corrosive qualities including eating away at your concrete and killing any grass that is under the piles of snow. The chemicals eventually work their way into soil and can harm any plantings in the area. So be careful with how much you use to de-ice your walkways, steps, and driveway. Also be aware of shoveling or plowing piles of snow that have chemicals in them onto your lawn. If there happen to be any warm, dry days, get out there and sweep up any extra salts and deicing chemicals that you can so they do not end up in your lawn or corroding your hardscapes.
- Snow Damage – Be aware of where you are piling your snow throughout the winter. Many plows leave tremendous piles that can damage plantings and the edging of gardens. Map out the yard prior to the first snow so you know the safest and easiest place to throw the snow when a storm hits.
Protect your lawn and gardens this winter from excessive snow and the chemical de-icers. Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care with any questions at (603) 382-9644 or Toll Free: (800) 313-4733, or visit our website for more information.
Winter is here. Unfortunately, there is no avoiding what Mother Nature has in store for all of us here in the snow capital of the northeast. Commercial property owners need to be sure that driveways, walkways, and parking lots are safe during these long, cold winter months in New England. Keeping those surfaces free from snow, ice and black ice can be a never ending task that could take up your precious time. Slips and falls are common on walkways and driveways that have not been cleared completely and treated with ice melt. Let Pro-Tech Lawn Care take care of your plowing needs this snowy season. Here are a few reasons why hiring our team is the smart way to go.
- No More Worry – During a snowstorm you don’t have to worry about clearing the snow in front of your property. Now, no matter how much Mother Nature has to throw at us your business can be safe.
- Risks of Accidents Decreases – Hiring a professional to remove the snow and salt when appropriate can greatly reduce the risk of any slips or falls that you may be held liable for.
- No Equipment Cost – By hiring a professional snow plow removal company, you no longer need to buy and service a snow blower, shovel, salter and other pricey equipment. We have everything to quickly take care of your snow piles.
- Fast, Reliable Service – Our plow drivers are up with the storm staying ahead of the needs of our clients. You don’t have to think about making time to shovel and plow during the night or during the operation hours of your business – that’s what we are there for!
- Keep Your Business Running – No one wants to chance visiting a business if they have to wade through snow or traverse slippery walkways. We can keep your business running no matter how “wicked” the weather gets.
Call Pro-Tech to make arrangements for your business to be plowed this winter.
Winter can be rough. The wind, snow, sleet and freezing rain can be not only hazardous to drive in, but also fairly treacherous to walk (or more likely shuffle) from your car to your front door, or even just around your property. Homeowners typically battle the slippery sidewalks, walkways and steps by spreading ample amounts of rock salt on hardscapes. This wondrous product can melt any form of precipitation in no time flat and may seem like a miracle cure for slick areas. Unfortunately, the melting power of rock salt also has corrosive characteristics. It is important to understand how rock salt can damage your lawn, plantings and bushes within a shovel-throw from your driveway. Otherwise, you may be facing damaged grass, bushes or shrubs next spring.
The first step to avoiding salt damage is understanding the basics of the salt products out there on the market. These materials are also often referred to as Ice Melt, Road Salt, Rock Salt, Ice Melter – depending on the brand. Rock salt is a type of sodium chloride. This compound can damage concrete, asphalt, and metal surfaces. Once the salt melts the snow and ice, it liquefies and runs off into the lawn and can spread to bushes and plantings when shovels full of snow/salt mixtures get thrown from the driveway. The salt can be very toxic to plants and bushes. If it is absorbed into the soil, it can kill the plant’s roots. Salt also affects the pH of soil and can create an unsuitable environment for grass plants to grow. Once the roots are affected, your lawn and plants have less of a chance of survival for the warm seasons ahead.
Knowing this, here are a few suggestions to both protect your lawn and surrounding plantings as well as stay safe walking on sidewalks, driveways and steps this winter.
- Look for rock salt alternatives that are less corrosive in nature. There are various alternatives to rock salts such as calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. Check the ingredient list before you buy.
- Use less rock salt. This may mean shoveling as much as possible before applying the salt or using a mixture of dirt and salt to make the slippery areas more “grippy”.
- Use gypsum if rock salt has damaged your lawn. Gypsum helps move salt away from the roots of your lawn.
- Shovel snow towards areas that have no grass or plantings. Avoiding piling snow on the edges of the lawn or throwing it toward bushes.
- Try to dilute the amount of salt by adding water or snow to the heaviest salted areas.